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The most effective service is to stand openly for God when the opposition is at its height. “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him” (Isa 59:19). To stand for God when there is no one to help, when everyone is opposing, manifests my dependence and confidence in my Father, as well as that I am so led by His Spirit in true devotedness, that the more I see him assailed, and His name dishonored, the more I must lose sight of everyone (concerning primary support—NC) and stand for Him.
Devotedness always does the greatest service. In the beginning of his course Moses learned to stand for God, alone and unsupported, in the face of universal opposition. It is a great thing for a man of God when he really has known the solitude of light, which he only enters on when entirely excluded from every influence of man, then it is he sees and becomes acquainted with the One who is Life (Col 3:4).
There is never a full and true sense of the vanity of all human things, and the greatness of the personal company and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, until solitude is known. Assuredly, the greatest service is when one is able to count upon the Father, and act for Him, as thus known to oneself in the teeth of all opposition; expulsion from man is not the same thing as opposition from him, but one prepares us for the other.
You will always find that where this devotedness is, there is neither an imitation of what others have done, nor is there looking for countenance or support from others—but a course of action quite original and singular, yet eminently effective, not only in answering to the heart’s devotion, but for the glory of the Lord and the service of the people generally.
The most fruitful service is the most needed at the time. The falling away of others does not dishearten the one who is truly devoted. Gideon’s great army is reduced from 32,00 to 300, but he is as valiant as ever; he does not spend his time lamenting over the great defection, but he says, “As I do, so shall ye do.” “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant,” not, he who can give a withering description of our falling away, and the errors which have crept in, and the laxity which is tolerated. No. Rather it is he who, while seeing that everything is most deplorable, can come in, in some new distinct way, and act from the Lord, which like Samuel’s prayer (1Sam 7), must obtain from the Lord a marked intervention and relief from the enemy.
We learn from the Lord Jesus’ ways that though He could see the utter ruin and failure around, He does not content Himself with seeing things in their desperate condition. No! He is the very One who uses the present misery as an opportunity, in His devotedness to His Father, to do the most effective service. I have never known complainers who were really devoted.
What a time it was for Moses when he faced the whole of Israel, when he came down from the mount and saw them wholly given to idolatry. He thought of no one but God; he feared not the wrath of man; he stood for God in a new unprecedented way, without any direction, but simply from the devotedness of his heart. When he has stood singly and openly for the Lord, then he could afford to stand in the gate of the camp and say, “Who is on the Lord’s side?”
- J B Stoney
Excerpt from MJS devotion for January 23:
“A malingering student will make a poor servant; a diligent student will make a good servant. ‘Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed’” (2 Tim. 2:15).
“If you begin with serving (as many do nowadays), you will never truly sit at His feet; whereas if you begin with looking unto Him you will soon serve well, wisely and acceptably. When the serving quiets the conscience, and the sitting is overlooked and neglected, the enemy gains an advantage, for it is at the sitting that the conscience is enlightened, and the pleasure and mind of the Lord become better known. I never met with anyone who, making his service prominent knew what it was to sit at the Master’s feet; but, thank God, I know indefatigable workers who enjoy sitting at His feet above any service. It is clear that those who abide in Him will be most competent to serve, and most in His confidence, which, after all, is the clue to all effective service” -J.B.S.